A copy of the Holy Quran handwritten by Hazrat Usman (RA) and stained with his blood was unveiled in Egypt.
Eleonore Sellard, a French scholar and researcher specializing in Arabic paleography and codicology, particularly Qur’anic manuscripts, gained rare access to Egypt’s National Library and discovered a rare gem.
“After years of trying to gain access to the collection, I was granted permission to view a very unique manuscript: a monumental copy of the Qur’an (mushaf in Arabic) written in the early centuries of Islam and found in an ancient mosque in Cairo. Built by Amr ibn al-Ash,” she wrote in The New Arab.
Moreover, this fascinating copy is believed to be one of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan’s, written in his hand and stained with his blood, and according to Islamic historical accounts, he was assassinated while reading it.
“We open the book – freshly rebound by the National Library’s restoration team – and begin to gently turn the pages. Unlike most ancient examples of the Qur’an, most of which are vertical, the large leaves of our copy are almost square, but slightly horizontal,” she said.
“This may be evidence that it was produced later than other early Qur’ans, perhaps as early as the 8th century CE. The first pages we turn to are written on paper. A note says they were made in 1830 to complete missing parts of the manuscript as part of a restoration sponsored by Khedive Muhammad Ali Pasha.
In a second period, somewhere between the 12th and 18th centuries CE, the manuscript was completed with leaves taken from another unique copy, probably the Fatimid Qur’an.
This special attention over the centuries explains the fact that our copy, unlike thousands of damaged early Qur’anic manuscripts, was never discarded in the Muslim community. Why did this copy get so much attention?
“In 2019-2020, I was fortunate to receive a grant from the Bureau Central des Cults (Ministry of the Interior) in France to research the history of this manuscript. True, over time, its leaves were separated and placed in different places. How and why did this spread happen? By the early 19th century, Cairo was known as a place to buy antiquities of every kind, including manuscripts,” she writes.